Is AP the Worst Content Thief?

By SNCR Senior Fellow Paul Gillin

A new blog called The Future Of Newspapers features a guest column by veteran Denver sports writer Dave Krieger that poses a curious question: How can the Associated Press proposed to champion the intellectual property rights of newspapers when the AP is itself the worst violator of those rights? Krieger notes that readers don’t make a distinction between the source of information and where they consume it. News from the Denver Post that appears on ESPN.com is presumed to be from ESPN.

“Why should any newspaper in the Internet age be a member of an organization that takes that paper’s original material, rewrites it and distributes it around the world without attribution or compensation? In fact, an organization that charges the newspaper for the privilege?” The AP had some utility when newspapers were expected to provide national and international coverage, but obligation is gone now. For most metro dailies, the AP is nothing more than a subscription service that pirates their content and distributes it free on the Internet. He has a point.

The previous article was originally published on Paul’s blog, Newspaper Deathwatch. It is re-published here with permission.

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Paul Gillin is a Senior Fellow and a Advisory Board member of the Society for New Communications Research. He is a veteran technology journalist with more than 23 years of editorial leadership. Paul was founding editor-in-chief of TechTarget, one of the most successful new media entities to emerge on the Internet. Previously, he was editor-in-chief and executive editor of Computerworld magazine. He writes the social media column for Business 2.0 magazine, and his forthcoming book, The New Influencers chronicling the changes in markets being driven by the new breed of bloggers and podcasters, will be published by Quill Driver Books in Spring, 2007. Gillin specializes in advising business-to-business marketers on strategies to optimize their use of online channels to reach buyers cost-effectively. He is particularly interested in social media and the application of personal publishing to brand awareness and business marketing. Paul blogs at www.paulgillin.com.